The Skirmish

Carrie manifested into the physical plane for another mission. This was always the part that she hated the most, making her body slow down from her usual vibratory pattern to one that moved at a significantly lower speed known as matter. Her mind would fog up, some fundamentals of knowledge would slip through her fingers, and the zany mix of positive and negative emotions would nearly make her forget her true purpose.

She hated coming back to this place, but she had once called it home before she had been "conscripted."

Her body took formation in a vacant alley behind some family-owned restaurant. As she solidified, she forced herself to remain in control and that the things she was feeling were just currents of energy that made her brain react in strange ways. Oh Gods it was not easy! She wanted to eat, drink, fight, cry, laugh and go find someone to fuck the hell out of, to name just a few impulses. Although these things pounded down upon her like a hard summer rain, she remembered her will, and it was strong. She remembered that she had a task ahead of her, and that it would be done.

Her higher consciousness, which was taking a seat in a foggy park in the back of her mind, still remained just enough to remind her to manifest clothing. It was like a distant voice shouting instructions that were almost inaudible, and it was her greatest weapon here in this world.

After another brief second, she was ready to go. Her long black hair was braided down to the small of her back, a length that she had never had when she had once lived in this world; but now was a different story. She could look any way she wanted when she came down for a mission. Once, she had been a middle aged Brazilian woman in the nineteen-thirties, another time she had been a twenty-five year old Romanian peasant during the reign of Stephon The Great. Once she had even manifested as a man. Now she was a twenty-three year old Asian female somewhere outside of Detroit. The time and place of the battlefield always changed, but the struggle never changed.

Us against them, she thought in her usual straightforward fashion.

Yes, they were here. She could almost smell them, making her nose wrinkle in disgust. It was always the same, for it was always someone like her coming to stop them from sewing the seeds of chaos. They had found a new conduit for their hatred and misery inside a man who called himself Delroy Ronsmith.

Before being asked to accept the mission, Carrie had been shown exactly what this man was capable of.

Delroy had been what everyone around thought was the model of Christian purity. He had worked hard his whole life, went to church every Sunday, and donated generous amounts to numerous charity organizations. He also owned and rented four houses out to families. One of his renters had a young boy.

And Delroy the Good also had an itch that no matter how hard he might scratch, it would never go away, to the dismay of random children who had been alone with him. The young boy of a family who rented from him had finally told his mother exactly what the landlord had been doing, which did wonders to explain why there was blood in his stool after he would use the bathroom.

With the authorities after Delroy, he had gone into hiding. Some speculated that he had fled to Canada. Of course, the law enforcement in Canada would be on the lookout for him as well - especially after what had been found in the basement of Delroy's home.

Every now and then, he would take such a liking to a child that he would just have to take the little one home forever. The child would scream and cry so much that Delroy would snap. His mother used to lock him in the cellar every time he cried too much, so he knew how to deal with disrespectful brats who were too used to Happy Meals and Nintendo games to want to play with others. Oh yes, he had ways of showing them how to respect their elders. But damn them! They would always try to run away. He himself had never been brave enough to run away from his Momma, not Delroy. No, he would never be as delinquent as the kids these days. They would break a cellar window and try to climb out. The little brats had no respect for property or his kindness. He remembered how one time he had caught one little girl trying to climb through a broken window. She had gotten stuck, and a big old shard of glass was stabbing into her back, turning the pretty little white dress he had bought her into a violent shade of crimson. If she had only behaved like a good little princess, she wouldn't have cut herself in such a nasty way, and he would not have had to teach her a lesson in respect.

Those had been the days before everyone had turned against him. Those damned liberals wouldn't even spank their kids anymore, and when he would do the job for them, he was all of a sudden the bad guy. Well that was okay, because he had heard the voice of angels. Angels that understood his pain, angels who looked like the sweetest, most pure little boys and girls he had ever seen. If they lived on this world, they said they would always be respectful of elders and that they understood and loved him...that their God understood and loved him.

They hated how things had gone so out of control, that they had no power to help him. They told him that the liberals would murder him just like Jesus. He cried when they told him this, but he was comforted with the knowledge that when his death would come, he would become a martyr and that all the little angels just like them would come to take him to Heaven, where Delroy could play with them forever.

But, first he had to do something for them.

He had to put an end to a particular group of snotty little children and teach them one big lesson, once and for all. It was the only way to save their souls and guarantee his place among the angels. He never would have had the courage for such a task before people knew about his basement, but all bets were off now. He had them behind him. They would be his guardians and see him through the gates of Heaven. He felt invincible.

And if I don't stop him, he will be invincible just long enough to give them what they want, thought Carrie as she stepped out of the alley and onto the sidewalk of what appeared to be Ellington Avenue. Yes, Delroy was right. All bets were off. She would either stop him or die, and if she died, that would probably mean their victory.

She was close to where she needed to be - the Stepping Stones Daycare Center. It was one hell of a place for a battle, but she had no idea where Delroy was. She couldn't take the struggle somewhere far from the innocent children. His vibrations were masked by them. She would have to meet him there and end it, right on the steps of the daycare if she had to. Standing at 5'6, she was not very intimidating, but she was not concerned with size issues. She had made it way too far in the War to be hindered by the illusions of the physical plane. Muscle and stature meant nothing next to will.

It was just her will against his, and she feared no evil.

After a polite, yet stern knock on the door of the daycare, a middle-aged woman with hair the color of cinnamon and with an obviously well-fed body answered the door. "Yes, may I help you?" She seemed to be expecting Carrie to give her religious pamphlets or come to pick up a child early. She did not have any Asian children under her supervision on that day, but her reasoning was cut off rather quickly when Carrie smiled and starting working a magick of her own.

"Why yes, ma'am," Carrie's consciousness extended out to caress the aura of the daycare worker. The woman's guard had not been up, which made the connection even faster. "We used to be very good friends, you see, you went to school with my sister at Hazel Park Middle School!"

"Yeah..." Said the woman in a dazed tone of wonder as old memories came to the surface. Never mind that she was remembering something that had never actually happened in her lifetime. "Uhh.... Wow! It's been so long that I..."

"Oh don't tell me you've forgotten about me! You used to help me with my homework because I was so horrible at Geography and Math. I think my sister got all the brains, and the guys!"

A name occurred to the woman. It was just a first name, but it seemed to fit the young woman who insisted that they had studied together. "Carrie?"

"Yep, Mona! That's me!"

Then they hugged and laughed and began reminiscing about all the things they had not done together. Carrie even threw in a couple of tears for dramatic flair. Time was running out and since she had a link with the daycare lady, she needed to get down to business.

"Anyway, I figured I would stop by and catch up on old times and give you some help with the little scamps in there," Carrie said.

"Oh, well sure!" Mona had very little old times with Carrie to catch up on, but she couldn't refuse such a good friend. The young woman seemed to have a good heart and that was what really mattered. "Come on in and have a cup of coffee!"

They sat at the daycare's kitchen table and talked. Since the past was such a dicey subject, they stuck to what mattered the most: the children. There were five children currently under Mona's supervision, which was apparently a smaller number than Mona was used to. For some reason, a few parents had found reasons not to bring their children to the Daycare center. Mona did not know if someone was spreading bad rumors or what. (No, Carrie realized, they just sense something. They don't know what, but they had a bad feeling. Maybe their children even felt ill and did not want to be here. It would be even better if all the children had conveniently gotten sick).

The small talk went on and on until the coffee had caught up with Carrie's bladder. She had forgotten that coffee would do that to her! "Could you excuse me for a moment. I think I've had a little too much." Mona laughed as she pointed out which door led to the bathroom. Carrie got to the door and noticed that someone was using the restroom. Finally the door opened, and a girl of about six years old came out holding her stomach. She wore a cute little pink dress and her light brown hair was in pigtails.

"Little girl, are you alright?" Carrie continued to act, but she knew what was really going on.

"My tummy hurts... I just wanna go home."

"I can make it feel better, hon." Carrie reached down and took the little girl's hand and held it. "This is what my mommy taught me, sweetie. She would take my hand, like I am with yours...and she would concentrate on all the fun things that would make her feel happy, like swings and horses."

"But it still hurts..."

"Yes but this is the thing, sweetie. She would put all of those happy things into her hand, and then she would pass it over to my hand. Then I would touch my tummy and it would stop hurting." Carrie transferred some of the happier vibrations that she could remember into her hand and passed them through to the little girl's. After a moment, she let go of the girl's hand and said "Feel how your hand is tingling?"

"Yeah!" The little girl was truly amazed.

"Take your hand and hold your tummy with it and all those nasty aches will go away." The little girl looked at her and slowly, yet deliberately, moved her hand to cover her little stomach. The effect was immediate and uplifting. The little girl's gloomy countenance dissipated instantaneously.

"Wow, lady! It don't hurt anymore! Thank you!"

Carrie smiled and said "Don't worry about it kid. Just be sure to remember what I taught you. You might have a pretty little girl like yourself one day for a daughter." The girl smiled as she seemed to consider the prospect of that.

"Me and Bobby are gonna get married one day and have bunches of babies!" She proclaimed proudly. A little boy within earshot, presumably Bobby, turned a bright red color as he realized that he and his little girlfriend's secret plans had been exposed.

"Am not!" Bobby shouted.

"Are too! You kissed me right on the lips!"

By now, the other three kids were taking interest in the latest childhood scandal and began chanting "BOBBY AND MINDY SITTIN' IN A TREE.....K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"

"Alright kids, settle down," Mona said, as she came out of the kitchen with another cup of coffee. How does she hold so much of that? Wondered Carrie as she finally got inside the bathroom to relieve the building pressure. She briefly looked in the mirror before sitting down on the toilet. There she was, with a black shirt tucked into some comfortable blue jeans. The jeans were not too tight, but they were snug in all the right places.

After urinating what seemed to be twice the amount she had actually consumed, she wiped and stood up. As she was buttoning her jeans, she realized she was being watched.

"Why hello there kid-O!" A voice rang out, impossibly close behind her. She spun around and there stood what appeared to be a dwarf wearing a three piece suit and a top hat. He even had a little cane. His face was frighteningly pale and his eyes were of blackest obsidian.

He was one of them.

"Go away." Carrie was shaken, but she was regaining her composure.

"Go?" He seemed puzzled by the thought of such a suggestion. "I'm in no habit of being forced out of my world."

"This isn't your world, asshole."

"You know, your mommy should have taught you manners instead of petty little tricks for tummy aches," the creature grinned, revealing teeth that resembled needles. He seemed to have a thousand of them in his horrible maw.

Carrie summoned more energy to her hand. This time it was not happy vibrations of horses and swings. No. It was a powerful energy of immeasurable strength. It was fire and lightning combined. It was raw, and harnessed by her will. It was enough to knock a little impish creature like this back to what ever dark chaos it crawled out of.

And it was getting harder to concentrate on the task at hand when her bra seemed to not fit right. In fact, her shirt seemed baggier and her jeans were even a little loose.

"Yes, I think little girls should learn proper manners."

Carrie started to realize that he was sabotaging her concentration by whatever sort of illusion, this has to be an illusion. All they know are tricks and illusions. Damnit it's not real. It's not real. I'm not getting smaller! It's a just one of their magick tricks! But she could not help but notice that she was getting smaller. Her breasts were making a hasty retreat back into chest, her jeans which had hugged her hips so well were hanging onto very little, soon to be nothing. Her shirt was getting very baggy. Things started to get bigger, including the dark dwarf that stood on the toilet seat grinning. She had been at least a head taller, now she was eye level with it. She closed her eyes and kept trying to reaffirm that this is just an illusion. Just an illusion. Just a trick. Just a trick. I'm big. I'm a grownup. I'm not a little girl. They have no control over me!

The dwarf hopped off of the toilet and stepped through the wall as though it were not there. He peaked his head back in the bathroom for a brief moment and said "I think that lovely Mona is going to have to take a little nap. Yes, I think it's about to be nap time for you and all your little playmates as well." A moment later... And he was gone.

Carrie tried desperately to stop the regression process, but she had been beaten. He had confronted her at the most vulnerable moment when she least expected it and had hit her deeply with his little magickal dart. Right through her defenses he had pierced her. Now she was just a little girl in a bathroom. Her mind remained adult, but she was scared. She could not outmatch Delroy with her current body, in fact, she was in the same boat as the rest of the children.

She tried to tell herself that she still had her mind and it was her greatest ally, but the words were no longer comforting. She looked down at herself and began trembling. Her body was roughly seven years old. Her bra loosely hung by its shoulder straps. Her jeans were around her ankles. Her boots were monstrously huge compared to her little feet, and although her shirt came down to her knees, she could feel her panties slipping down her legs. She parted her legs a little and the panties fell to her ankles.

She had to think fast. She needed to explain to Mona that they were all in danger and that they needed to get the hell out of there fast. They needed to call the police. Carrie could not just stay in the bathroom like she was doing. She set herself to motion. She easily slipped her little feet out of the big boots and stepped out of the jeans and panties at her feet. The T-shirt would do fine with covering herself up, but she needed to get rid of the useless bra underneath.

She opened the door and what she saw lowered her spirits even more.

Mona was lying on the floor, hopefully just unconscious. Her hot cup of coffee had spilled all over blouse and the cup was still in her hand. The children were gathered around her and they were quite terrified. The little girl, Mindy, was crying and trying to wake Mona up. She kept shaking her. Mona's belly jiggled with each frantic jostle, but she did not awaken.

Carrie forced herself into motion again. Even if she was trapped in a child's body, she appeared to be the oldest in the room. She went to the others and took Bobby by the arm. He turned and looked at her with bewilderment. He knew there had not been a little Asian girl there earlier, but given the current situation, all of that seemed to not matter; this only worked to Carrie's advantage, and she needed all she could get. "Do you know who to call in case of emergency, Bobby?"

He was scared, but his mind was quick. "Yeah! They say to press 9-1-1 on the phone!"

"Good Bobby! Go do that. Tell them to bring the police and an ambulance. Tell them to hurry and then hang up."

Bobby ran to the phone and began dialing. Someone had an exceptional child, and hopefully if the authorities could get here on time, someone would continue to have a exceptional child. After a brief moment, Bobby's call was answered by an operator. He told them exactly everything Carrie had instructed him to say, in fact, he hung up on the operator as soon as he told them to hurry. They could trace 911 calls particularly fast, and even if it was a prank call, they would still send at least one squad car. She knew this. Back before she had been "conscripted," she had known a guy who had dialed 911 and hung up the phone on the first ring. He had not expected them to trace-

The door was kicked open with lightning fast speed, sending wooden splinters from the frame halfway across the room. Carrie had been watching the door up until Bobby had hung up the phone. She had never heard anyone approach from outside until the loud KAWHAM of Delroy's boot had so cruelly smashed open the door. The children screamed. Bobby ran back to the others, who were huddled around Mona.

Only Carrie stood between Delroy and the children. She had come to this plane to save them. For some reason they had seen the deaths of these children as a victory. Would one of the children cure a disease one day in the future? Would one of them become a great world leader? What was the potential that they feared so much? These things had been on her mind earlier, now there wasn't time to consider such things. She was more than likely about to meet her death. She hoped that the children would have enough time to get the hell away, but she had to distract him. She had to delay him. She had to act.

"Oh my dear little sweets!" Delroy proclaimed with a joy that held no sanity whatsoever.

"She looks like she's in need of medical attention, doesn't she? Oh Righty-O! I know a little about doctoring people up!"

"I bet you do," the words came out of Carrie's mouth on their own volition. "I suppose that little girl with the glass shard sticking out of her back could attest to your medical skills, you fucking creep." The children gasped. They were confused. They were frightened. They had never heard another child call a grownup a fucking creep. Hell, Delroy was shocked. Children had always feared him up until then. They had tried to escape his discipline. They had feared his secret games. He was the boogeyman made into flesh for those he took down to his basement.

And how in the hell did this kid know about that little girl who had tried to climb out through the broken window? Those fucking pink-o liberals must have been telling about him on the news.

"What did you say to me, pumpkin?" Delroy took two steps forward. He was quite close to Carrie, but she stood her ground. All she had left was her will, and it would have to be enough to save the children.

"You damned well heard me. Your twisted plan here is unraveling before your eyes. The police are on their way as we speak," Carrie's voice piped, yet it was unwavering and held its adult disciplining.

"Do you think I care about that? I still have plenty of time. The angels have seen to that." He took another step forward and swung at Carrie, striking her in the cheek and sending her face first in to the carpet. He walked on past her as she tried to get on her feet. Somehow he knew that they were the real children. He was not too interested in Carrie. Something was telling him to ignore her.

Delroy walked over to Mindy and picked her up. She was frightened beyond words. The only thing that escaped from her lips was a long moan of fear. He tried smilingr, but she had gone into total shock. He carried her over to a rocking chair and sat down. He planted her firmly on his lap, and began rocking. He stroked her hair and whispered things to her that only they could hear. Delroy reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a shaving razor. He ran it along a strap on her pretty little dress, severing it instantly. Then he did the other strap. The dress slipped down, exposing her shoulders and part of her chest.

He was taking his time. Somehow this did little to comfort Carrie.

She finally got to her feet and realized she had a desperate idea. She had learned that if she focused enough on her own aura, she could make herself not seen by people unless they were to look straight at her. Delroy's attention was diverted, the other children were huddled around Mona, crying. It would be perfect. She stood up, concentrating all the while. She tried as calmly as possible to walk across the play-room floor to the kitchen. No one seemed to notice her. Everyone continued to see what they wanted to see, which was not her.

When she got to the kitchen, she started opening drawers, trying to find the one which held the knives. It wasn't much, but it was the best thing she could do. When she found the right one, her mind screamed with triumph.

Then, he hit her.


He had noticed that she had left the room, so he came to find out what she was scheming. He knew there was something not right about this particular child. She was somehow dangerous. First he had tried to ignore her, but then the angels had urged him to put an end to her once and for all. He had to hurry though. The police would be there soon, and they would know he had hostages. He could pretend to negotiate while he slit each of their precious little throats. They were still huddled around that babysitter. He had told them to not go anywhere, so they hadn't. It was amazing what a little authority can do for a kid.

Carrie went sprawling. The knife flew out of her hand and landed somewhere on the other side of the room. She tried to grab onto something as she went down, but only grabbed the salt and pepper shakers. When she hit the floor, the pepper shaker shattered next to her. She tried to get up, but Delroy's knee came smashing down into the small of her back. Her face went into the broken glass, cutting her little nose and cheeks. A moment later he repositioned his weight, moving his knees to pin down her legs. She heard him pull out the shaving razor once again. She heard him unfold it with a whip of his wrist, then he brought it down on her. He cut into the base of her neck with it, and moved down. He cut her shirt open from the back as though it were butter. The razor dug into flesh and left a red streak straight down the center of her back. She could feel the warmth of her blood flowing freely.

He opened up her shirt and looked down upon her little backside. The only thing she could do was bleed. She heard the unbuckling of his belt and knew what would come next. If her rape meant delaying him long enough for the police, maybe -

No. something deep in her mind protested. No no no no no no! This is not my fate. This is not my fate. No damnit! I will fight him to the end. I will fight to the end. But I will not allow this! I will not! I WILL NOT!

"I WILL NOT!!!!" Carrie screamed. Her voice roared louder than that of any lion's. She grabbed a hand full of the spilt pepper and threw it over her right shoulder, right into Delroy's face. He screamed and fell backwards, leaving her free from restraint. She scrambled away from him and got on her feet. When she stood up, she couldn't help but notice that she was a little bit bigger than she had been a second ago. In fact, it was becoming more than a little bit. The curves of her sex were beginning to fill out again. She had broken free from the curse.

Delroy only stared at her with a dumbstruck look of awe as her body was completely restored. The long cut on her back even healed instantly.

"NO!" Delroy shouted as he swung the razor at her. She dodged it as though she were being attacked by a homicidal snail instead. She extended her right hand outward and immediately began feeling the charge of energy building up. He tried to lunge at her, but it was too late. The energy burst from her hand slammed into him at point-blank range. He in turn was slammed against the wall. His ribs were more than likely broken. He crumpled to the floor, but still he held his grip on the razor.

She looked in on the children, a couple were already heading for the door. The police and the paramedics had finally arrived. Mona seemed to be regaining consciousness. Apparently, the spell that knocked her out had dissipated at the same time the regression spell had worn off.

As the officers entered the home, Carrie vanished. She knew what would happen next. Her job had been done, and she had not met with a horrible fate after all. She would go on and await the next chance to fight them. And, maybe she would even cheat them out of victory once again.

Delroy on the other hand...

As he sat on the floor, a broken man, he wondered what had happened. Would the angels show him mercy? Was he worthy of their sweet kisses? He needed to know. Everything was such a daze. What had hit him? In the other room, he heard the officers asking the children what was going on. He even heard the babbling of that lard-ass woman who had fainted. Yes. Everything was at its end.

"What a pathetic lump of shiiii-itt."

Delroy looked up and saw something most disturbing indeed. The creature was very short, wearing a top hat, a black three piece suit, and a cane. Its eyes were black, and its face was whiter than a sheet's. It grinned, exposing terrible, carnivorous teeth.

"Let me tell you a joke, sonny-boy. What's the best part about fucking a seven year old girl?"

Delroy only blinked in disbelief.

"Give up? Flip her over on her stomach and it's like fucking a seven year old boy!" The creature threw back its head and laughed. After its laughter diminished into titters, it bent over and took Delroy's hand, the one with the razor and began singing an old tune he had once heard in the Navy. "The cabin boy, the cabin boy! That dirty little nipper! He lined his ass with broken glass, and circumcised the skipper!"

It brought his hand holding the razor up to his throat, where he felt the touch of cold steel. It some how felt satisfying. It felt right.

"You'll definitely wanna look good for all the cameras, so I highly recommend one last shave. And since you've been through so much lately, I'll even help you with the task."

All of a sudden, there was no one there. No small creatures singing naughty songs. NO police officers in the kitchen yet. No Asian kids. No Asian women. Just him alone with his razor.

His arm began one final act with the razor.

The paramedics never reached him in time to stop the bleeding.

Máire Flynn Jan 1st, 2000